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The very first ritual associated with a Punjabi wedding is the Ardaas. This is when any girl and boy accept the fact that they have chosen each other as man and wife and will not look at any more prospective brides or grooms. This step leads on to many more steps and then finally leads to the many ceremonies that lead to the marriage ceremony.
Engagement: Mangni / Shagun
The engagement ceremony also referred to as the Mangni or the Shagun ceremony is an important event that is the first towards the boy and the girl being born in two different families coming to be known as a family. In this event, the families of the bride go to the home of the bridegroom with a lot of gifts, money and jewelry, apart from fruits and sweets and confirm the alliance and come back.
Blessing the Couple: Rokka
This is the event where friends and relatives bless the couple and express their joy in their relationship by giving those gifts, money, sweets and other valuable things. This is also the function where the prime event is the bride’s maternal uncle gifting her nose ring. As part of the function, the couple is made to stand on the stage together and pose for their first few photographs together. Most of the relatives are called for this function and there are relatives who throng to come and wish the youngsters a fabulous life ahead.
Sagai and applying the tikka
This happens close to 10 days before the wedding. The bride’s father applies the tilak on the forehead of his future son in law and the groom’s family also gives the bride new clothes and jewelry to wear. In most cases, this is the jewelry that is passed from generation to generation and is generally heavy for the bride to wear. In this sagai, the bride and the groom exchange rings and are properly engaged.
The women in the family of the bride organize this. This is more for the bride and very few people from the groom’s side are invited in this. There is a completely musical night with a lot of music and dancing on the floor. There is an extravagant dinner after the Sangeet party and these scores well among the guests. There is also an all women Sangeet party that is organized just for the bride and her close friends.
This is done just before the wedding and most married women take part in this. This is applying designs to the hands and the feet and mostly women get this done on their hands. However, the bride needs to get the mehendi done both on her hands and legs and the mehendi meant for the bride is carefully prepared and sent over by the bridegroom’s mother.
Rituals Performed in Punjabi Wedding
Getting Introduced -Milni
The first of the wedding ceremonies that take place the moment the groom’s party arrive at the party hall is the Milni. In this, the main members of the family get introduced and the bride’s family members present the boy’s family with gifts as they are now becoming family members. This is done from the oldest member to the youngest member and everybody is introduced and all of these close relatives are made to stand in a circle.
Garlanding - Varmala
Once the Milni is over, the bride and the groom are brought to the marriage stage and are made to stand in the middle of the group of relatives. Heavy garlands made of flowers are then passed on to them and the bride and the groom exchange these garlands. After the garland exchange, the couple take seven rounds around the holy fire of which some the groom leads while the others the bride leads. The priest who is solemnizing the wedding us will explain the reasons and the process in detail.
Kanyadan or Marriage
The father of the bridge will put a ring on the right hand finger of the groom and offer his daughter to the groom indicating that the groom will be held responsible for her going forward. Then after the seven rounds of the holy fire, the bridegroom ties the black beads or the mangal sutra around the neck of the bride and anoints her forehead with the sindoor. This will complete the marriage process and proclaim the young girl to be the wife of the man standing next to her.